Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mindful Diet?

A recent article published by the University of California at San Francisco indicated that mindful meditation proved useful in losing weight and belly fat without diet.

First thought:  Not another no-work weight-loss gimmick.

After some research, I’ve decided that this actually has merits. Utilizing something called mindfulness which is in another way of thinking differently, in this case less thinking, if possible “no thinking” in zen, it’s called “mushin no shin” or mind of no mind.

 First of all, it doesn’t take much training. It doesn’t require special foods, instruction, classes at martial arts or yoga facilities, or visits with an Asian master on top of a high mountain.

What it asks for is a person to empty his or her mind, be completely blank, when the “emotional” need to eat is triggered. The basic theory behind this is that when a person eats while stressed the chemical cortisol is activated that stores fat. By simply turning off the stress factor, cortisol is not activated and fat is used for energy processing and the person is not likely to eat that half gallon of Heavenly Hash, full bag of potato chips, or chocolate chip cookies.

 The study indicated that not only weight (usually measured in ounces) was permanently lost, but inches off the belly, and that the body creates more HDL good body fat which is healthy.

 So what does this mean to us baby boomers?

 As old hippies, we pretty much grew up thinking up this new stuff: Jogging, health clubs, low carb diet, various exercise machines, nutrition, alternative health treatment, so on, la de dah de dah.

 What it boils down is that years ago, we dinosaurs ate freshly slaughtered meats and ate roots and berries. We also learned how to roll them up in paper and smoke some of these wonderful herbs. My thoughts? We’re pretty much messed up in our ways and as a result poor eating habits are the results of poor “stinking” thinking.

 We live extremely complicated lives and find value in it. Now waz up wid dat?

 Mushin no shin puts it all in perspective. Non-martial artist have seen or heard of the concept from watching movies, one that comes to mind is The Last Samurai” when the Tom Cruise character, Lt. Nathan Algren was having a hard time picking up Japanese hand-to-hand combat consequently ending up beaten time after time. Samurai leader Nakamura’s son, Nubutada, explained “Too many mind. Hai. Mind the sword, mind the people watch, mind the enemy.” The hardest part of thinking about no mind is that the preoccupation of stressors that lead our lives takes precedents of what matters. A doomsday co-worker warned me that Left Wing Liberals are going to take away all of the rich people’s money. He was far from rich, but yet he was stressing from this idea obviously fed from early morning talk radio shows. When he asked me my thoughts, I said, “I don’t know. I’ve never been rich.” In this case, my co-worker had “too many mind.” He expends his life’s force and energy to face dangers that poses no immediate risk; however, his mind, body and spirit react as if it was being attacked by a Sabre tooth tiger and therefore deteriorates while dealing with an unknown and inconsequential threat.

Point is that why think about it? Like worrying about liver flavored ice cream; naga happen.

So the moral of this story is that if you have to eat because of stress factors, simply take a deep breath, count slowly from one to ten, walk to a quiet place and think about nothing.

Perhaps thinking about nothing may stop you from thinking about food.

Haiiii ya!

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post.

    I admit...I am a stress eater. I am working hard to walk away when stress triggers thoughts of ice cream. :)

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    1. There's this exercise that may help. When you feel the urge to binge as a result of stress, take out three (I know, I know) raisins. Try to make the three raisins last for at least 15 minutes. That means taking very small iddie biddie bites. Two things: The need to eat may go away and the calories from three raisins hardly will create unwanted fat. Unfortunately, I've never tried it, so I can't tell you if it works or not, but it's worth a try.

      Good luck.

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